4.0 out of 5 stars Three for Three
Christopher Reich has produced his third novel, "The First Billion", and it is a worthy addition to the first two books he offered readers. New authors always seem to be more harshly judged than their more veteran peers which I find quite unfair. The author who is arguably the most successful writer in the whole techno-thriller spy genre has just released his newest book,...
Published on 6 Mar 2003 by taking a rest
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not enjoying this yawner
It's unfortunate for the author that I am the only one reviewing his book but I found the book disappointing. Halfway though the book and not sure I will finish it, the style is heavy, the author going into much details in his descriptions whether he is describing the inner workings of the investment banking world and tech companies ( the reader is even served details...
Published on 26 Jan 2007 by Hugh
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not enjoying this yawner,
It's unfortunate for the author that I am the only one reviewing his book but I found the book disappointing. Halfway though the book and not sure I will finish it, the style is heavy, the author going into much details in his descriptions whether he is describing the inner workings of the investment banking world and tech companies ( the reader is even served details about Cisco routers and switches used in the company at the centre of the story) the world of computer hacking and the architectural history of Russia. All the while you will be asking yourself when the action will really start. English is not my mother tongue and I found myself having to pick up the dictionary every chapter while this usually doesn't happen with other books. A lot of the stuff is just plain unrealistic, investment banking execs dress like advertising execs, the main's character's investment firm, an up- and -coming SF investment bank sports a name- Black Jet Securities- that would only suit a back- of- the alley daytrading firm, descriptions of one of the main protagonists, an investment newsletter writer taking on Black Jet are just plain silly. Then, last nail in the coffin: the author thought appropriate, perhaps with an aim to fight prejudice or distill a political agenda, to include HIV- stricken gay characters as friends and close advisors of the main protagonist in the story . It just doesn't fly, really not an enjoyable read
4.0 out of 5 stars Three for Three,
Christopher Reich has produced his third novel, "The First Billion", and it is a worthy addition to the first two books he offered readers. New authors always seem to be more harshly judged than their more veteran peers which I find quite unfair. The author who is arguably the most successful writer in the whole techno-thriller spy genre has just released his newest book, and while I am in the minority in that I enjoyed the novel, it has been overwhelmingly thrashed. No author is going to produce the perfect book each time out, and no author is going to have an easy time when his or her first book was as successful as Mr. Reich's first work, "Numbered Account". His first book remains my favorite of the three, and I would place his newest at number two, with, "The Runner", third. And even though placed third the book was well above the average of much of the production line derivative nonsense that fill bookshelves be they real or in cyberspace.
This book is weak in two areas from my standpoint. The author became a bit cliché when he decided to have a former pilot head a securities firm, and then names it Black Jet Securities. Tying a series of names or forced events to the character's former profession become tiresome when overused. Having the same character purchase a military attack jet on his American Express card also was hard to read without wincing. The other part I had difficulty with was a side story that didn't really seem to be necessary. It served more as a distraction than as a key element to an otherwise good tale. While dealing with what has emerged from the former USSR is fine, dredging up behavior that harkens to the cold war is becoming a bit overused.
Mr. Reich is very good when sticking with his expertise in finance, and staying close to that theme made, "Numbered Account", so very good. And in this book, when focusing on the enormous risks and difficulties of bringing a Russian based technology company public on the NYSE, the book is at its best. He is a talented author, and I hope he gets back to what he is best at. He has shown he does not need to travel the paths that others have already beaten to a pulp. "The First Billion" will not likely be your favorite book by Mr. Reich; it is still a worthwhile read that is well above the majority of the competition.
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting rollercoaster ride on the NY Stock Exchange,
I bought this book after reading the Fantastic "The Patriots Club" by Christopher Reich, which I thoroughly recommend by the way. This book is based around an ex US Fighter Pilot called Jett who is CEO of a company called Black Jet Securities. In just a few days Jett will take Russia's leading media and Broadband company to the New York Stock Exchange. Billions are at stake but rumours from a underground website place the deal at risk when posts keep appearing that Mercury Broadband is a fraud. Jett secretly send his number two to Russia to check out these rumours but he disappears. Everything starts to snowball and soon Jett finds himself being hunted by Russian Mobsters and the FBI. Another great thriller from Reich who's research is very thorough making this a fantastic read.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great suprise,
I came across this book by chance, and it is a brilliant read. The main characters were interesting, but it is the whole premise of the story which made it a proper page turner.
This book explores the implications of investing in a company - but when that company is Foreign - then everything considered procedural is thrown out the window. If anyone wants to understand how corporations can be so powerful, then remember that stories are events which have been mythologised :)
4.0 out of 5 stars A RIVETING NARRATION,
This review is from: The First Billion (MP3 CD)
Actor and Audie Award finalist James Daniels gives a riveting performance of this globe spanning story propelled by rapid fire action and dark intrigue. His voice ably conveys toughness, compassion, and regret. He doesn't over-dramatize, allowing Reich's powerful words to carry listeners along.
As many know, Reich has earned an enviable reputation as a master of international intrigue. The First Billion, his third book, again mesmerizes with a tale of frightening possibilities.
Jett Gavalian is a former fighter pilot, having served in the Gulf War. What he saw there inspired him to begin Black Jet Securities, an international financial consulting firm. He intends to use his profits to help rather than harm, improve the possibilities for life on this planet. Jett made his first billion in jig time, and now he's working on the next by putting Mercury Broadband, a Russian media company, on the New York Stock Exchange.
However, he's soon made aware that the company may not be all he believed. Jeff sends his best friend, Grafton Byrnes, to Moscow to look into the situation, which appears murkier by the minute. There's not much time as Mercury Broadband is due to go up in a mere six days, and the future of Black Jet hinges on it. We hear: "The IPO, or initial public offering, of shares in the company was valued at two billion dollars, and nothing less than his firm's continued existence depended on what he discovered. A green light meant seventy million dollars in fees, a guarantee of fee-related business from Mercury down the road, and a rescue from impending insolvency."
What Grafton finds in Moscow is more terrifying than he or Jett could ever have imagined.
Just when we think Reich has pulled out all the stops and couldn't possibly have another trick up his author's sleeve, he galvanizes with the unexpected. Enjoy!
- Gail Cooke
4.0 out of 5 stars Just like you were there,
Fantastic book I was gripped from the moment I started reading it. The descriptions give real detail and the narrative really draws you in makes you feel like you are really there you can almost visualizing the twist and turns happening in front of you. This is a good book for when you are lazing in the sun.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Investment,
Reich with his new novel enters a territory discovered by many before him: a depraved Russia, the Russian mob and international conspiracies. The first ones to draw a map of contemporary Russia (Philip Kerr - Dead Meat, Robin White - Siberian Light and Donald James' Russia trilogy) did a great job: they showed the complex reality of a deeply disturbed fallen empire. Those books are compelling rollercoasters with fine and smart insights filled with compassion and understanding - and fear.
Fear - that's all Reich feels about Russia. Period. Not even the slightest effort he shows to understand people of different, seemingly alien cultures.
After his first two books I expected another clever and well written thriller of interantional intrigue seasoned with Reich's financial expertise. He came up with a good story: a corrupt Russian businessman, Kirov, wants to enter the NYSE with his company's stocks. He approaches a self-made expert, Jett Gavallan of Black Jet Securities. But some malocious info surfaces on the Net regarding the credibility of the Russian company. Gavallan, former fighter pilot, sends his friend, Graf, to Moscow to contradict the info. But Graf gets kidnapped by Kirov, the FBI starts to investigate Gavallan's firm, and and he's forced to risk everything he owns and holds precious. He embarks on a journey to Moscow accompanied by his ex-girlfriend to rescue his friend and his company.
Sounds interesting, right? I thought so too. I fancied his previous books and started this one right away. But Reich lost his focus after the first 70-odd pages. I guess he felt his original idea was weak, so added some ridiculous twist and turns. Kirov is backed by the Russian president, a group of soldiers prepare to blow up an oil refinery, and so on. Meanwhile, Gavallan is haunted by a terrible secret which he faces eventually when he buys a MIG in Russia and flies it to Germany. The storyline went wrong before this but it was a hard hit. It's not the problem though. The preconception he handles Russians in general with is simply hair raising.
We in Hungary had more than our fair share of Russians. They were not popular in the oucciped former Eastern Bloc countries. But Reich's portrayal is disturbingly shortsighted, racist and ill conceived even to my eyes. To paint a whole nation as he does is simply not dumb but tasteless.
Even though Reich offers a knowledgable insight into the world of finance and his descriptions seem to be useful and accurate, I wouldn't buy stocks of Reich's. They're gonna collapse soon. No writer can afford such an ignorance. Bad investment.
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The First Billion by Christopher Reich (Audio Cassette - Aug 2002)
Used & New from: £84.42